Noah Hawley’s old home office desk from his instagram.

This is kind of complicating and it involves how I approach the deep work block and layering in the work I need to do. So the first thing I do is use my Scrapbook for loose ideas, my Journal for outlines and important notes and Word for drafts. In the past I tried using Scrivener, but it just became a procrastination tool to keep me from actually writing so I went back to good old reliable Word.

I layer each level. I break story and chapter in the Scrapbook by asking some free-write prompt using the 5Ws and an H. What do I want this story, book, chapter, comic to be about?”

Then I create a detailed outline of scenes or points in my Journal. I use the outline of each scene as a free-write prompt to generate the first draft of the story, chapter, or comic script in the document. That usually happens in Word. Every time I go back to the story over the course of the first draft, I’ll read from the beginning of the chapter or story and edit as I go cutting anything that doesn’t build character or story. The important thing for me here is being away from a screen. Screens are shiny and really distracting for me. The less time on a computer the better. When the piece is done, I’ll print out and edit on my clipboard.

Usually, loose story ideas—things that just pop up in my head and go into my Scrapbook (usually a pocket notebook that I take with me everywhere) will go up on my Storyboard. I’ve created a Storyboard Index that I print out and that gets inserted into my journal’s pocket to just kind of percolate. At some point, I’ll pull the thing out and look over the list of random story ideas I have and just have at it in my scrapbook. If it’s good I’ll repeat the cycle from the top.

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